Posts Tagged: music videos

Your Selfie Realization

Perhaps you are on your way to the gym, listening to some hip-pop anthem to get the blood going. You think: yeah, that sounds good. "We are gonna run this town tonight." "I do want that cake cake cake cake."

There is a slight slippage of ego as you meld with the persona in the song—staring into the mirror to find you are mouthing out a rogue, “Westside!,” or whispering with a little too much conviction: "I am a god." A glittery EDM beat comes in, lifting you up, rollercoaster style, to the bridge of the track, where, adrenaline spiking, you become your true self—which is to say, [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: Wu-Tang Clan's "Protect Ya Neck"

Part of a series for the new Awl Music app.

The longish story shorter about how I came to lose cable around the time I entered high school is that I was screwing up. Not in any sort of way that would alter my permanent record, or was anything but suburban and toothless and play-acty. I was tanking my classes and baiting my teachers, refining my basketball skills—without much improving my NBA draft stock, in retrospect—to the exclusion of any other kind of self-improvement and shoplifting stupid eighth-grader things like baseball hats and basketball cards and used CD's. There was disapproval from across the dinner table, strange threats [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody"

Part of a series for the new Awl Music app.

I was of MTV-watching age right around the time the channel was transitioning from showing long blocks of music videos to reality-show programming. And, of course, "Undressed." But between mornings before school, and "TRL" in the afternoons, and late nights, there were still a few hours a day when you could catch a run of clips. While I can name a dozen or so that made an impact, Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody" was maybe the most important. It was the first video that showed me hip hop could be both sexy and weird.

Sexy I understood. Women [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: Mötley Crüe's "Home Sweet Home"

I was probably 8 when I saw Mötley Crüe's video for "Home Sweet Home" for the first time—we got cable around 1986—but in the mid-80s MTV was playing it in heavy rotation, as they say, so I saw it a lot. And for an 8-year-old there was a lot to process, like that part in the beginning when Vince Neil kisses the crotch of a scantily clad lady on a poster. Also, the concept of the tour bus: It was clear that this was not just an ordinary bus, but rather some sort of magical, mystical lair where Adult Things went down. I did not yet know what I [...]


Chocolate Chip: I Was Not A Rap Video Ho

SEEKING: "ethnically ambiguous" women with "regal faces" who "must be comfortable with artistic nudity" for an "Egyptian themed," Helmut Newton-esque (read: drop them draws, Nefertitty!) "artistic video promo." I received this invite on Facebook and thought to myself, "easy money? I'M THERE." Then it occurred to me that I hate videos with half naked women posing next to rap stars who lip-sync songs about bitches and hos while blithely holding a bottle of Cristal in one hand and money in the other. Newton inspired or not, the image of a black woman standing next to a be-blinged rapper conjures stereotypes I'd rather not perpetuate. QUERY: Could this be one of [...]


The 10 Best Music Videos Of 2012 That Are Not Gangnam Style

• Justice—"New Lands"

A summary of the rules of the futuresport played in Justice's video for "New Lands":

Play begins when batter hits the neutron ball fired at him by the cannon-pitcher. A successful hit finds its way into the possession of the roller-lacrosse attackman, who skates around the banked circumference track while avoiding the opposing team's motocross defensemen and safeties armed with warhammers. The attackman passes the ball to the wide receiver, who runs downfield toward the end zone. A touchdown is worth 12 points, except when it's worth 8 points.

This list of the 10 best music videos of 2012 are in no particular order, but they [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: The Birthday Party's "Nick the Stripper"

Part of a series for the new Awl Music app.

MTV didn't come to southern California when it came to the rest of the country, because southern California got cable television later than everybody else. I forget exactly why this was, but there's a story to it: something about networks not liking cable, I think, and being able to flex their muscles a little harder in their natural environment. I'm not sure exactly. Like most southern California kids, anyway, I first encountered music video on shows that resembled American Bandstand. DJs from local radio would host a room full of dancers while videos played.

My friends and I [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: Seona Dancing's "Bitter Heart"

Part of a series for the new Awl Music app.

For me it was "Bitter Heart" by Seona Dancing, feat. a slender, Bowiefied Ricky Gervais singing the lead vocal ca. 1984. Such a shock he was really quite lovely in that dandified way boys had about them in those long-ago days. I, then a callow goth, was partial to this exact varietal, and should certainly have been setting my turban at M. Gervais had the opportunity presented itself. At the Batcave in London or at the Camden Palace I accidentally went in the men's room once to find the most ravishing sight, some fifteen boys crowded along a [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: The World's Famous Supreme Team's "Hey D.J."

The first in a series for the new Awl Music app.

I could have chosen David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes," because it was the first video I ever saw when staying with my family at my grandmother's house in Kent. (It was late 1980, if my calculations are correct.) I watched an entire cricket match because I thought videos only existed in England (by deduction) and that if I waited around, the video might show up again. "Hey D.J." was more important, though, because it gave me an idea, though vague.

I was a senior in high school when I saw "Hey D.J." in 1984. The clip [...]


New Video: Justice And Lenny Kravitz "Let Love Rule"

Life has been good to Lenny Kravitz. Despite sucking terribly, he's been able to make lots of money, have sex with women like Lisa Bonet, Nicole Kidman, and Adriana Lima, and island-hop the Mediterranean on yachts. I guess he's made his contribution, by teaching us a lesson about the essential unfairness of everything. So that's cool. Anyway, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his 1989 debut album, Let Love Rule, he hired the French production team Justice to make a dance remix its title track. The song still sucks. But the video is actually kind of fun! Says Stereogum: "the tongue-in-cheek Keith Schofield-directed video is … smart and [...]


What's So Funny, Mark Eitzel? A Q&A

This week, Merge releases Mark Eitzel's haunted and haunting Don't Be A Stranger, his first solo album since 2009's Klamath (Decor Records). Producer Sheldon Gomberg assembled a collection of crack studio players, including a full string section and Attractions drummer Pete Thomas, to record the album, whose more straightforward songs sprang from Eitzel's recent experience co-writing a musical, 2010's Marine Parade, with friend Simon Stephens. Longtime fans of the former lead singer of American Music Club, who cherish the grim, soaring beauty of his lyrics, where people are lonely, bad liquor is a refuge, "Lazarus wasn't grateful for his second wind," and "the applause grows louder the lower [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: Phoenix's "Funky Squaredance, Pts. 1-3"

Part of a series for the new Awl Music app.

The summer I turned 17, I interned at a company that represented music video and commercial directors and my assignments involved watching music videos and commercials. I think I watched a lot of videos that looked beautiful, and even a few that told great stories, but I don't remember any of those now, I guess because there's an abundance of music videos that look beautiful or tell great stories.

"Funky Squaredance, Pts. 1-3," which Roman Coppola made in 2000, isn't beautiful, and it's not exactly a story. But it's the best. It's an elaborate joke about the music [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: Van Halen's "Panama"

Part of a series for the new Awl Music app.

For a 12-year-old boy, this video had it all: a cool airplane, jumping, kicking, spandex, karate, cops, chest hair, head hair, hot chicks, motorcycles, booze, screaming fans, rhythm gymnastics. It was the perfect music video for the confused sexuality of puberty. My friend Sam and I would watch this video on his VCR and act it out together. If you got to be David Lee Roth, you also had to be Michael Anthony. If you were Eddie Van Halen, you also had to be Alex Van Halen—a measure cooler than Michael Anthony but then again Diamond Dave was [...]


Introducing the Awl Music App: Music Videos for and by People, Not Machines

Today, we launch Awl Music as an app on iTunes. You can watch your favorite music videos on your iPad, or throw them to your Apple TV like any other television channel. Get it here! Here's why we think this needs to exist.

My music video collection began in 1989, the year my family finally got MTV. Cable had been slow to arrive in the San Fernando Valley, and my family was not much for early adopting anything anyway. I had one previous experience with MTV, a few years earlier, when I spent two weeks of the summer in the basement of my aunt's house in Scarsdale, watching six [...]